Three-time Golden Boot winner Johnathan Thurston, rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns, superboot Daryl Halligan and former All Black and Blues rugby star Carlos Spencer will go head-to-head in the Beko Legends Kick-Off charity goal kicking challenge at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines in February.
The quartet of goal kicking champions will put their reputations on the line in a bid to earn cash for the tournament’s official charity The Rising Foundation – an organisation that teaches leadership and life skills to over 500 at risk young Aucklanders – with up to $20,000 on the line thanks to global appliance manufacturer Beko.
The unique event pits three of rugby league’s greatest points scorers against a man who ruled Eden Park for a decade.
Andrew ‘Joey’ Johns’ 2176 points for the Newcastle Knights ranks him second on the NRL’s all-time scorers list, two places ahead of former Bulldogs sharpshooter Halligan (2034).
Thurston (1794 points) sits ninth on the all-time list and second amongst active players – just four points behind Cameron Smith.
Completing the line-up of sharpshooters and carrying the flag for rugby union is Spencer – a man who notched over 500 points for Auckland in the NPC, over 600 points for the Blues in Super Rugby and 291 points for the All Blacks in 35 tests.
Johns said he was relishing the chance to have some fun while supporting a great cause.
“I am really looking forward to it,” he said. “With goal kicking you can have a laugh about it, but I don’t think it has ever been done before where you have some of the greatest points scorers and goal kickers in history shooting it out.
“It’s really exciting. I think the crowd will get right into it and it will be pretty special.
“I’m honoured to be a part of it really. And I think it’s sensational that the money goes to charity. It’s a great cause. Let’s hope we can kick some goals and raise some money for them.”
There is a sweetener for the contestants, with the winner picking up a $2000 home appliance package from sponsors Beko. The company will also donate $700 for each successful kick to The Rising Foundation.
Rugby league’s premier kicking coach Halligan will be under extra pressure as he juggles his duties as a television commentator at the tournament.
“I can just sense Vossy [fellow commentator Andrew Voss] or Greg Alexander or the guys just carving me up,” Halligan said.
“If I don’t do any good I’ll pretend to head upstairs to the commentary box, but I might just leave the stadium.”
Thurston, who holds the all-time record for most State of Origin points and is the reigning Golden Boot (awarded to the game’s best player), Dally M and Clive Churchill medal holder (awarded to the man of the match in the NRL grand final), will be showcasing his skills at the Auckland NRL Nines for the first time.
The event will also include one lucky competition winner, who will also walk away with a $3000 appliance package thanks to Beko a long with the once in a life-time opportunity to pit their skills against four kicking legends. It is scheduled to take place before the final on Day Two.
BEKO LEGENDS KICK-OFF
WHEN: Just prior to the Downer NRL Auckland Nines final on Sunday, February 7.
Andrew Johns: Rugby league Immortal and second highest points scorer in NRL history.
Johnathan Thurston: Second among active players with 1794 points. Holds record for most State of Origin Points in history.
Daryl Halligan: Ace goal kicker and goal kicking coach. Fourth highest points scorer in NRL history.
Carlos Spencer: More than 500 points for Auckland in the NPC and over 600 for the Blues in Super Rugby, to go with 291 points for the All Blacks in 35 tests. Made Eden Park his back yard for over a decade.
Plus one lucky domestic kicker will get the opportunity to participate in this kick-off. The search for the next big kicking star will take place via Downer NRL Auckland Nines social media channels.
Six kicks each. $700 per successful kick donated from Beko to ‘the Rising Foundation’ to a maximum of $20,000
Shot-clock counts down 90 seconds
Kick 1: 30 metres out in front - 1 point
Kick 2: 20 metres out, 10 metres in from left sideline - 2 points
Kick 3: 20 metre line, right on left sideline - 3 points
Kick 4: 20 metres out, 10 metres in from right sideline - 2 points
Kick 5: 20 metre line, right on right sideline - 3 points
Kick 6: 40 metres out, on sideline, or half way, right in front - 5 points
JOKER: Each player has the opportunity to play the joker to double their points on that kick. There is a twist!
The winning legend wins a Beko home appliance package to the value of $2000.
Downer NRL Auckland Nines
• All 16 NRL Clubs together in Auckland
• Featuring 288+ star players
• 31 action packed games
• 9 players per team, 9 minute halves
• NZ $2.6 million dollars + in prize money
• Three-Test Women’s series between Kiwi Ferns and Jillaroos
• More than 90,000 fans expected over February 6 and 7
Tickets on sale at www.ticketek.co.nz/nines. Two x day tickets from $69
This first appeared on NRL.com as: Superstars to kick for charity at Auckland Nines